15 Greatest Dutch Midfielders of All Time

Who is the best Dutch midfielder of all time?

Netherlands is a country that has produced hundreds of world-class midfielders in the football world. Those midfielders joined different big clubs across Europe and won numerous prestigious titles. Not only being successful in the national team and their respective clubs, they also claiming numerous individual achievements and awards.

Among the hundreds of world-class midfielder from Netherlands, I selected 15 names that are considered the best and arranged them in a ranking. The ranking was made based on their individual skills as well as team achievements. Please let me know your opinion about this ranking and don't hesitate to leave your comments if you think that there are other Dutch players that should be included in this list.

15. Aron Winter

Aron Winter is a former defensive midfielder who spent his career playing for Inter Milan, Lazio, and Juventus. He was known as a player who displayed consistent performances. In Netherlands national team, Winter played in 84 matches and netted eight goals. He was also included in Holland squad that won Euro 1988. Aron Winter's greatest individual achievement is winning the award of Dutch Young Player of the Year in 1986.

14. Ronald de Boer

Ronald de Boer underwent the best period of his career when playing for Ajax Amsterdam in the period of 1993-1998. His natural position was an attacking midfielder, but de Boer could also play as a forward due to his high goal scoring instincts. Ronald, who is the twin brother of Frank de Boer, won five Eredivisie titles, one European Cup, one La Liga titles and one Scottish League title. He was also named the Dutch Footballer of the Year in 1994 and 1996.

13. Willem van Hanegem

Willem van Hanegem was part of a golden generation of Netherlands national team in 1970, led by coach Rinus Michels. He was known as a central midfielder who possessed accurate passing and outstanding dribbling. Together with Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens, Van Hanegem became a mainstay of his country in the 1974 World Cup and Euro 1976. At club level, he won various prestigious trophy with Feyenoord; among them are three Eredivisie titles, two KNVB Cups, and one League Cup trophy.

12. Johnny Rep

Johnny Rep is a retired right-winger who was known as one of the key players of Netherlands national team in the World Cup in 1974 and 1978. In the two tournaments, Rep successfully helped the country become the runner-up. Not only that, he also holds the record as the all-time top scorer of Netherlands national team in the World Cup tournament, with a total of seven goals. In the best period of his career, Rep was recognized as a fast, agile, powerful, and intelligence midfielder.

11. Arjen Robben

Arjen Robben was the central figure who was regarded as the best Netherlands player in the 2010 World Cup. In the tournament, Robben successfully helped his country advance to the finals round. He is known as a winger with remarkable dribbling skills and superb techniques. Not only that, Robben also achieved tremendous success at club level during his career at PSV, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. He has won a lot of prestigious trophies, among them are one Eredivisie title, two Premier League championships, one La Liga titles, three Bundesliga titles and one Champions League trophy.

10. Marc Overmars

Just like Arjen Robben, Marc Overmars is a retired winger who relied on his incredible running speed and dribbling skills. He was also known for his powerful left foot shot. Throughout his career, Marc Overmars capped 86 times and netted 17 goals for Netherlands national team. At the club level, he underwent a period of successful career with Ajax Amsterdam and Arsenal. One of his best individual achievements was being selected as the best young player of 1994 World Cup.

9. Mark van Bommel

Mark van Bommel is indeed a perfect central midfielder. He could attack and defend equally well, and is also known as a reliable set-pieces taker. Not only that, he possessed great leadership skills so that he was trusted to be the team captain, both at club and national team level. In a period of 12 years, he played for Netherlands national team in 79 international matches and scored ten goals. Throughout his career, van Bommel won four Eredivisie titles (with PSV Eindhoven), one La Liga titles and one Champions League trophy (with Barcelona), a Serie A title (withAC Milan), and two Bundesliga titles (with Bayern Munich).

8. Phillip Cocu

The best quality as a footballer possessed by Phillip Cocu is the ability to play in various positions. Cocu's natural position was a defensive midfielder, but he can also play as a left back, winger, or even as a forward. In Netherlands national team, Cocu was considered an important player in the second half of the 1990s and early 2000s, where his position was almost irreplaceable. He also won quite a lot trophies at club level, especially when playing for PSV Eindhoven and Barcelona in the 1995-2007 period.

7. Edgar Davids

Edgar Davids was famous for having incredible stamina, speed, and power. He was a tough defensive midfielder and became a mainstay of Netherlands national team in the mid-1990s. In a period of eleven years, Davids capped 74 times and scored six goals as well as represented his country in one World Cup and three Euro tournaments. At club level, he successfully won numerous trophies when playing for Ajax Amsterdam and Juventus, among them are three Eredivisie titles, a Champions League trophy, and three Serie A titles

6. Wesley Sneijder

Wesley Sneijder is a perfect example of a playmaker. He possesses accurate long and short passing, high goal-scoring instincts, and the remarkable abilities to create goals from set-pieces. Together with Arjen Robben, Sneijder was regarded as the central figure who helped Netherlands become the runner-up in the 2010 World Cup. In the tournament, he even won the Silver Ball (awarded to the second best player of the competition) and the Bronze Shoe (awarded to the third top scorer of the competition). At club level, the best period of Sneijder's career occurred in the 2009-10 season, when he won five titles with Inter Milan.

5. Clarence Seedorf

Clarence Seedorf is a retired central midfielder who claimed outstanding achievements at club level. He created a record as the first footballer in the world who won four Champions League trophies with three different clubs; Ajax Amsterdam, Real Madrid, and AC Milan. Besides being known as a versatile midfielder, Seedorf also possessed great stamina, creativity, and work-rate. He represented his country in 87 international matches and netted 21 goals.

4. Frank Rijkaard

The quality of Frank Rijkaard as a defensive midfielder is undoubtedly remarkable. He possessed extraordinary tackling, marking, heading, and strength. Not only that, his passing was very accurate and often led to goals. Along with Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten, Rijkaard formed a lethal trio that played a major role in helping Netherlands national team won the Euro 1988. The trio also led AC Milan dominate the Italian League in the late 1980s to early 1990s.

3. Johan Neeskens

Johan Neeskens is a retired central midfielder who became the loyal partner Johan Cruyff in the 1970s. Together with Cruyff, he was famous as the general of "total football" tactics designed by coach Rinus Michels. The tactic made Netherlands national team and Ajax Amsterdam successfully dominate a lot of international tournaments. In addition to having high stamina and accurate passing, Neeskens was also known as a reliable penalty-kick taker.

2. Ruud Gullit

Ruud Gullit is indeed an almost perfect footballer. He could play in any position, from defender to striker. Not only that, he also possessed well-balanced abilities, ranging from tackling, marking, heading, strength, finishing, and passing. Gullit was a figure who played a major role helping his country win Euro 1988. At club level, he won three Eredivisie titles, three Serie A titles and two Champions League trophies. He was also awarded the Ballon d'Or in 1987.

1. Johan Cruyff

Not only known as a footballer, Johan Cruyff should be regarded as a great artist. Playing as an attacking midfielder, Cruyff is the general of super-offensive tactics called "Total Football." He carried on the tactics by exploring all sides of the pitch, while exhibiting a variety of stunningly beautiful football techniques. In a period of 11 years, Cruyff scored 33 goals in 48 matches for Netherlands national team and led his country advance to the 1974 World Cup final rounds. He also won three Ballon d'Or titles and successfully helped Ajax Amsterdam, Barcelona and Feyenoord claim many trophies. After his retirement as a professional footballer, Cruyff also underwent a career as a football manager and had amazingly brilliant career at Ajax Amsterdam and Barcelona.

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